Summit inspires PAEDC Board to take next step

Published 5:13 pm Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Board of Directors of the Port Arthur Economic Development Corp. said they’re ready to take the next step after last week’s Community & Economic Development Vision Summit at the Carl A. Parker Multipurpose Center at Lamar State College Port Arthur.

The directors discussed the summit at their regular meeting of the PAEDC Monday night.

“I think the conference was well received. Now it’s time to implement,” said Floyd Batiste, executive director of the PAEDC. “We need to meet together to share a vision.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

He added that the directors of different governmental organizations will soon meet. Director Richard Wycoff and others said the board needs feedback so they won’t be kept in isolation.

Director John Chirafis said the top two issues he heard at the summit was Port Arthur as a very unclean city and education. Those two must be addressed to move the city forward.

Attorney Kate Leverett said she heard of a program in the city of Fort Worth where the homeless are paid to pick up trash in the city. Batiste said they can instead use residents who are on probation with community service to clean up.

The discussion next turned to education and jobs.

Wycoff said there are plenty of jobs in Port Arthur, but residents need the right education for some jobs.

Batiste said industry needs to find the people for those jobs and industry needs to further train them once they’re hired.

Director Kenneth Marks said the Port Arthur ISD has a good Career And Technology Education program and students can be trained while in high school for jobs in industry. Currently, there are a large number of students being prepared for jobs, but that number could be larger.

Director Darrel Anderson said the reality is there are qualified people in Port Arthur who are not being hired.

“A number of our young people had to leave Port Arthur for work,” he said.

Batiste said for this effort to be successful it’s about building relationships.

In other PAEDC meeting business:

  • The board approved assistance for infrastructure in developing a shopping center on Jimmy Johnson Boulevard near the Babe Zaharias Golf Course in Port Arthur.
  • The directors approved a letter of intent from Scot Nguyen with Dustin Gulf Seafood to submit an application for an economic development grant. Plans are to move the business from Sabine Pass to Memorial Boulevard in Port Arthur, add five employees and enlarge operations.
  • AJ Entertainment, which owns Reel Cajun Restaurant on Twin City Highway and Jimmy Johnson Boulevard, is modifying their agreement with the PAEDC.

Batiste said they are having difficulties getting back in business because of Tropical Storm Harvey. The agreement was extended by nine months with a expiration date of Nov. 15, 2018.

  • The board approved the terms and conditions of an economic incentive agreement with Standard Alloys Engineered Services — a castings, machine parts and repair services business, according to their website.

The company plans to purchase 35 acres in the Spur 93 Business Park to consolidate operations in one central location between their Vidor shop and their Port Arthur shop.

The total is $17 million. Plans are to hire 10 new employees, four of which will be Port Arthur residents.

  • Another agreement approved was the sale of land at the Highway 73 Business Park to KLV Ventures.

KLV Ventures is a transportation service, according to its website. The board of directors previously approved an economic incentive agreement for three tractor-trailers. This agreement is to sell three acres of land on Highway 73 for a $197,000 loan over nine years to keep payments low for KLV.